Markets

Swiss franc consolidates after rallying hard on North Korea tensions

Swiss franc consolidates after rallying hard on North Korea tensions

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 35.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,438.21. The Nasdaq composite lost 39 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,331.

KOREA JITTERS: With President Donald Trump warning North Korea of "fire and fury", investors have become concerned that the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could escalate.

"What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the USA and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it", said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney.

Safe-haven assets gained following the rising geopolitical tensions.

Stock markets have turned lower as investors reacted nervously to renewed tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

The VIX rose further on Wednesday, rising as far as 12.11, its highest in nearly a month.

Simmering tensions between the United States and North Korea have come back to the boil in recent days after Pyongyang disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near America's Pacific territory of Guam.

Dai-ichi Life Holdings dropped 1 percent, T&D Holdings fell 2.2 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group declined 0.9 percent.

South Korean stocks, currency down: South Korea's leading shares index, the Kospi, closed down 1.3% on Wednesday, taking a sharp leg lower after the escalation of tensions.

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Against the dollar, the franc surged 0.6 per cent to 0.9688 francs, reversing a two-week losing streak. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.2 per cent to close the day at 22,048.70. The EUR/JPY was down 0.54% to trade at 128.924 Yen while the GBP/JPY was down 0.58% to trade at 142.489 Yen.

Japan is the world's biggest creditor country and there is an assumption investors there will repatriate funds in a crisis.

Markets are now focused on US consumer price data for July, due later in the session.

Insurers and banks, which invest in higher-yielding products such as foreign bonds, underperformed after U.S. Treasury yields fell on Wednesday, with the yields on the benchmark 10-year note hitting a six-week low.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 added 0.2% to 7,799.64, led higher by local cargo giant Mainfreight, which was 1.8% firmer.

Yields on core government debt fell. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday. Spot gold prices edged down to trade at $1,274.86 an ounce by 8:19 a.m. HK/SIN, below a high of $1,278.01 an ounce seen in the last session.

"Dollar/yen has already gone below 110.00 yen, and at this stage we are likely to see the pair begin to bottom out as the market finds time to assess the situation", said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale in Tokyo.

It had risen more than 1 percent on Wednesday, one of its largest single-day jumps against the euro since the Swiss National Bank removed its cap on the currency in January 2015.


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